Monday, April 14, 2014

HungerU Exhibit on Global Food Crisis

HungerU, a touring mobile exhibit designed to create awareness about global food issues and the role of agriculture, will be on the University of Arkansas campus Monday and Tuesday to challenge students to consider the world's food needs.

The exhibit will be located between Silas Hunt Hall and the Arkansas Union, and open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The visit is sponsored by the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

HungerU's goal is to create awareness of the global food crisis through education, generate discussion and empower students to take action in their communities. The world's population is expected to be more than nine billion by 2050, creating an increased need for sustainable food production and reduced waste.

HungerU was created by Farmers Feeding the World and the Farm Journal Foundation. The LL.M. Program has a special connection because our alumna, Margie Alsbrook now serves as Director of Operations for Farm Journal Foundation in Columbia, Missouri.

Margie is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law and of the LL.M. Program. She was the inaugural editor in chief of the Journal of Food Law & Policy.

Margie has been a leader in food and agricultural law issues for some time, and just last week we posted about her presentation on food recovery at Food Waste and Hunger conference at Northwestern University.

Other colleges to host the exhibit include the University of Arizona, Auburn University, Iowa State University, Fresno State University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of San Diego, the University of Illinois, Michigan State University and Texas A&M University.

Don Wiseman and Amy White Visit LL.M. Class

We were delighted to welcome two food safety and compliance attorneys from the world's largest retailer, Walmart, to a special class session last Friday. Don Wiseman and Amy White spoke to our class for over an hour, and then we all had lunch together.  Our appreciation is extended to these two busy professionals for taking time out of their schedules to visit with us.

Don Wiseman serves as senior associate general counsel at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. He is the company's principal subject matter legal expert for food safety and regulatory compliance, as well as consumer product safety and compliance.

Don has an extensive background in food law,  from a variety of perspectives.  Prior to joining Walmart, from 2003 through 2007, Don was the senior vice president and general counsel of Swift Foods Co. of Greeley, Colo., the world's third-largest fresh beef and pork processor. From 1991 to 2003, he was the senior vice president and general counsel of Memphis-based Perkins Restaurants, the operator and franchisor of the 500-unit Perkins Restaurant and Bakery chain.

LL.M. Alumna Amy White is the Food Safety and Health Manager for Labeling Compliance at Walmart.  Amy works with internal and external stakeholders to ensure regulatory compliance in food labeling, specifically working with the labeling of private label food items sold at Walmart and Sam's Club.  Her position requires complex regulatory analysis and close work with the companies that supply Walmart. An additional part of her position is monitoring legislation, litigation and policy shifts that affect food labeling.

Amy has a background in Animal Science and attended the LL.M. Program 1999-2000.  Her agricultural and food law career took a successful detour when she founded the popular local clothing store, Something Urban, after completing the LL.M. Program.  Amy ran the store until this past year when she decided it was time for a change.  Her interest in food and her connections with the LL.M. Program over the years led her to apply for a labeling position at Walmart. Her science background, her legal training, and her LL.M. degree all helped her land the position.

Don and Amy also supervise the LL.M. and J.D. externs who work with food labeling and safety issues, providing them with direct application of food law to the retail marketplace. This semester, two externs from the LL.M. Program, Kathryn Smith and Erin Shirl work with them.

During their presentation, Don and Amy answered questions submitted by the class and discussed current issues in food law.

After class, we all walked over to the Northwest Quad buffet dining for lunch and conversation.  Thanks to Don and Amy for coming down from Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas to visit with our class.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Good Wishes to Our Friend and Alumnus, Vade

Special note regarding one of our alumni -

Students in the class of 2011-2012 had the pleasure of meeting Vade Donaldson. Vade came to the LL.M. Program with a great practice background, including legal services criminal defense work.  He moved here from Seattle for the Program, bringing his wife and two small children. He taught Advanced Legal Writing as an adjunct, creating an excellent criminal law practice class.

Vade's love of agricultural and food law studies was apparent. He was the perfect student to have in the LL.M. class -  engaged and well-prepared, thoughtful and inquisitive, and always, always thinking of his classmate's, student's and professor's interests.

As noted below, Vade has had a very rough year.

But with the perseverance and good attitude that is typical Vade, he has come through it.  Now, it's time for us to come through for him.  Please read the following note from him (which I asked him to write for the blog) and see if you can sponsor him in the upcoming marathon for a very great cause.

I am running a marathon on May 4 to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).  

I was diagnosed with a rare leukemia last July following a long period of increasing fatigue during which I was increasingly unable to get things done.  Sadly, I was unable to maintain my newly formed agricultural and food law practice.

Fortunately for me and people like me, the LLS funds valuable cancer research. In my case, an entirely synthetic drug was developed 15 years ago to treat my form of leukemia.  I am in complete remission six months following chemotherapy.  I will never be “cancer free”, but if my leukemia returns, I will simply repeat chemotherapy (it’s not that simple or fun, actually).

LLS had a much more direct impact in my life, though.  Cancer, even for the well-insured, is very expensive.  LLS provides direct financial support to patients overwhelmed by the financial demands of fighting their disease.  I was a lucky recipient of one of these grants.  In addition, the LLS is a well-spring of information and knowledge.  The have a vast library of resources for patients and their families.  I can’t understate the value of this.  It means a great deal to have a credible, reliable source when confronting your own diagnosis or researching the disease of a loved one.

My marathon is in Vancouver, BC, on Sunday, May 4.  It’s hard for me to believe it will actually happen.  I lost a lot of weight through the whole process and now weigh less than I did when I was 14. I also lost a considerable amount of strength and was at the point where even running two miles was a struggle.  Today, however, I feel like a new person with energy I haven’t had in years. 

Please visit my fundraising page and consider donating to help support the fight against blood cancer! 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Food Waste and Hunger Summit

 We will be blogging about this with more details in a couple of days, but as a preview -  our Alumna, Margie Alsbrook and LL.M. Program Visiting Assistant Professor Nicole Civita both presented this weekend at the Food Waste & Hunger Summit at Northwestern University.  Nicole just finishing speaking, and as noted the tweet below, she did a great job.  UA students including student leader Cameron Caja also involved, with Cameron presenting as well.  Twitter has been a big part of the communications at the conference, and thanks to Margie's efforts, our message was widely circulated.  

Retweeted by 
Amazingly helpful session by YOUofA Prof. Civita at - as a I am v impressed!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Another great resource: Food Recovery Project Blog

Check out the news on Food Recovery activities in Northwest Arkansas by following the new blog at We are very proud of the Fayetteville community for working together on food recovery initiatives, and we are proud to play a role through our LL.M. Program Food Recovery Project.

The new blog is written by LL.M candidate Jeremy Baker and Visiting Professor Nicole Civita. Sarah Hiatt will be jumping on board soon as well.

Our efforts in this area are funded by a grant from the Women's Giving Circle.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Alumni News

We continue to receive good news from our Alumni with new position announcements from Blake Rollins (Class on 2013) and  Liz Mashie Gunsaulis (Class of 2012)

Liz Mashie Gunsaulis recently accepted a position as a Food Safety Manager in the compliance department at the Walmart Home Office. In her work she focuses on food and pharmaceutical recalls, food safety compliance in retail and distribution facilities, and sustainability projects such as reducing
food waste at the retail level.

Blake Rollins is pleased to report his new appointment as Counsel for the US
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry Committee.

Congratulations Liz and Blake!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Experiential Learning Pt. 3: Working with The Sustainability Consortium

This is the third in a series of three posts about experiential learning opportunities for LL.M. students.

Sonia Sylls
In our last two posts on experiential learning opportunities for our LL.M. students, we featured students’ work with Walmart’s Legal Division and Allen Olson.  This week, we are featuring the project that Sonia Sylls is working on with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) in Fayetteville.

TSC is an organization with hubs in Arkansas, Arizona, China, and the Netherlands that consists of diverse global participants that work collaboratively to build a scientific foundation that drives innovation to improve consumer product sustainability.  Through multi-stakeholder collaboration, TSC’s mission is to design and implement credible, transparent and scalable science-based measurement and reporting systems accessible for all producers, retailers, and users of consumer products.  The organization partners with many large and well-known companies, including Walmart, L’Oreal, Hanes, PepsiCo, McDonalds, General Mills, Tyson, and many more.

TSC helps build knowledge around critical sustainability issues using two main tools.  The first is the Category Sustainability Profile (CSP).  CSPs are collections of the best knowledge about the sustainability of a particular product from cradle to grave.  They identify pieces of the supply chain where products can better incorporate sustainability principles. 

The second tool is TSC’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI).  KPIs are questions about brand products designed to help retailers understand the sustainability of the products.  TSC has developed questions for different categories of products that focus on environmental and social issues.

This semester, Sonia is working under the supervision of Dr. Christy Melhart Slay, TSC Research Manager.  She is currently tasked with a social sustainability research project pertaining to animal welfare standards.  Sonia works closely with TSC’s Social Sustainability Researcher, Matthew Lyon, to identify animal welfare standards from more than 45 national and international organizations and certifications pertaining to livestock, poultry, and eggs.  This research will assist member companies and stakeholders in improving their understanding of the types of animal welfare standards included in various organization and certification programs.

Through the externship, Sonia has been afforded the opportunity to interact with TSC’s international research team through weekly team meetings and has met with some of TSC’s local member organizations.  She has found that TSC’s externship offers excellent exposure to the variety of professional application the study of agricultural and food law provides.  Sonia is the first LL.M. student to extern with TSC and is excited to lay a foundation for future externship opportunities between TSC and the LL.M. program. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Public Radio Feature on LL.M. Program

Last week, Kyle Kellams, KUAF public radio News Director and Producer of the local radio show, Ozarks at Large, stopped by the Law School and interviewed Susan Schneider about the new distance option for the LL.M. Program.

The interview resulted in a feature story on the LL.M. Program which aired today on Ozarks at Large.  Here is a link to the podcast.  Our thanks to Kyle for his interest in our Program, the great questions he asked about our move to incorporate distance education, and the effective way that he told the story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

LL.M. Program Announces Integrated Distance Option Beginning Fall 2014

We are proud to announce that we will be adding an innovative distance option to the LL.M. Program beginning fall 2014.

The Press Release was posted today on the University of Arkansas Newswire, Agricultural and Food Law Program Launches Distance Education Option.  This will be the first of a number of blog posts that describe the new option and what it means for the Program, our candidates, and our alumni.

Unlike most other distance LL.M. Programs, the Arkansas approach will provide full integration between enrolled face-to-face students and their online classmates. Core LL.M. classes will continue to be offered on campus. Distance students will be able to participate in real time through live video-conferencing. Classroom capture and carefully designed interactive exercises will be available when a conflict prevents a student from participating. Enrollment is limited to preserve the benefits of smaller classes.

For the new distance students, the LL.M. classroom will be wherever they are, allowing them to maintain their job and residence elsewhere.

“Typical distance programs use technology to present course material and to interact through online postings and email,” said School of Law Associate Dean Don Judges. “We use technology to also bring the classroom experience directly to distance students and to bring distance students directly into the classroom.”

In addition to courses delivered “live” with synchronous video conferencing, innovative hybrid courses and self-paced, guided online study courses will be offered. Course design is being completed with help from experienced distance learning professionals at the UA Global Campus.

“This program is an exciting opportunity for people who want to study agricultural and food law but cannot come to the Fayetteville campus to study,” said Javier Reyes, vice provost for distance learning. “The launch of the LL.M. program is the latest example of the university’s commitment to expanding educational opportunities and employing innovative teaching methods that combine Fayetteville’s academic quality and distance education’s flexibility. By providing more online programs, the university is responding to market demands and student needs.”

The popular LL.M. condensed-courses, taught by visiting experts over a period of several days will continue, with distance students encouraged to visit Fayetteville or to “conference in” to the class on their computers or tablets.

An expanded LL.M. curriculum of specialized agricultural and food law courses will be available, and the complete integration of the Program will allow students to enroll in any of the courses that are offered, maximizing the opportunities available to them.

LL.M. students attending classes on-campus in Fayetteville will benefit from the expanded curriculum and the experiential opportunities available in Northwest Arkansas.  These include participation in the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative, the Food Recovery Project, and food and agriculture related externships. Graduate assistantships will generally be limited to students on campus. And, almost all of our alumni will agree that experiencing the charm of Fayetteville while getting to know your classmates is a special opportunity. Regardless, all of our students will benefit from the ability to interact with professors and students worldwide.

The Program allows students to enroll full time, completing the degree in just two semesters or part-time, with up to four years to finish.  The part time option is designed for attorneys who seek to develop specialized skills while also maintaining a busy practice.

“We are pleased to add a distance component so that lawyers throughout the global agriculture and food sectors can benefit from our unique curriculum and outstanding faculty,” said Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law.

For more information and to apply to the program, please visit the LL.M. program’s website.

Students Volunteer for the Pack Shack

Photo Credit: Convoy of Hope
Northwest Arkansas provides many opportunities for involvement and volunteering with local food groups.  Three of our current LL.M. students—Kathryn Smith, Erin Shirl, and Lauren Bernadett—volunteered their Friday afternoon to help pack over 25,000 healthy meals for NWA vs Hunger

NWA vs Hunger was organized by the Pack Shack, a group that provides food, hygiene items, and personal items to Northwest Arkansans in need.  The goal of NWA vs Hunger is to pack 500,000 healthy meals, collect 20,000 pounds of food drive items, and raise $5,000 for fresh produce. 

Our students volunteered on the assembly line and combined the ingredients in bagged meals.  Each bagged meal included dehydrated vegetables, dried soy and rice, and vitamin supplements.  The experience was fun and, of course, very rewarding.

Events such as this help provide needy individuals and families with direct access to food.  Our students realize that their careers can impact food policies and achieve long-term food access goals on both local and national scales, but direct access to food can provide more immediate support.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Univ. of Arkansas School of Law Continues Dramatic Rise in National Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report 2015 law school rankings are out. The University of Arkansas School of Law is ranked in the top tier of law schools for the sixth consecutive year, increasing 7 points over last year.  It is now tied for 61st place overall and 33rd among public law schools. It has moved up 47 places in the overall ranking since 2008, and 12 places in the public ranking since 2011.

“Our outstanding career placement and bar passage rates speak to the quality education our students receive,” said Stacy Leeds,  Dean of the School of Law. “Our national standing and low tuition reinforce our reputation as one of the best values in legal education.”

The U.S. News ranks law schools based on a peer assessment score, an assessment by lawyers and judges, the student/faculty ratio, bar exam passage rates, post-graduation employment rates, and other measures.

Two other graduate programs at the University of Arkansas showed impressive gains in the rankings in U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 edition of Best Graduate Schools.

The College of Education and Health Professions’ graduate education programs moved up nearly 50 places in the overall rankings; the Sam M. Walton College of Business M.B.A. program moved up 11 places in the rankings, but even more notable, it continued to lead the nation in the number of full-time Master of Business Administration graduates employed at graduation.

“This progress in the recognition of University of Arkansas graduate programs is very impressive, and truly a mark of the hard work that is being done on our campus,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “Strong graduate school programs are one of the hallmarks of any great public research university, and these rankings are proof that we are steadily moving toward our goal, to be recognized as a Top 50 public research university.”

Achieving the Top 50 goal would mean that the University of Arkansas ranks among the top 8 percent of all public research universities in America.

"This is a testament to the entire university's commitment to graduate education," said Todd Shields, dean of the Graduate School and International Education. "Programs in three distinct areas are climbing at significant rates, which happens only through the hard work of many people. Deans Smith, Leeds and Jones should be very proud of the accomplishments shown here."

The full University of Arkansas Press release is available on UA Newswire.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Todd Heyman Publishes his LL.M. Final Article in Columbia Journal

Congratulations to 2013 LL.M. Program graduate, Todd Heyman, for the recent publication of his final LL.M. article in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.  Todd's article is titled, Why the Commercial Speech Doctrine Will Prove Toxic to the USDA National Organic Program.

In the article, Todd describes a situation where a farmer using organic practices is frustrated with the organic certification process and seeks elimination of the process as a violation of her commercial speech rights.  From this hypothetical, a very realistic scenario, Todd examines the value of the National Organic Program and then discusses the commercial speech doctrine as applied to that Program.  He warns that "valuable regulatory tools" such as the National Organic Program may well be "in jeopardy" under the heightened scrutiny suggested in the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision of Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc.  The article is thought-provoking, well researched, and well written. We are proud of Todd's work and happy to have him as one of our alumni.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

LL.M. Students and Alumni Present at PIELC 2014

Last week, three of our current LL.M. candidates and an alumna served together on a panel at the 32nd annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) at the University of Oregon School of Law.  PIELC is one of the foremost environmental law conferences in the country and attracts thousands of lawyers, scientists, activists, and community members to share their ideas, experience, and expertise.

Kathryn Smith, Kelly Damewood, Lauren Bernadett, and Pamela Vesilind each presented on a separate topic for their panel, titled Food, Technology, and the Environment.  The presentations shared a common theme of discussing issues where these three fields collide.

Kathryn’s presentation addressed the environmental harms from agricultural runoff, current federal conservation programs, and agricultural conservation practices and new technologies that farmers can utilize to curb the negative environmental impacts.  Kelly discussed nanotechnology and emerging contaminants.  Lauren presented on genetically engineered (GE) salmon and the FDA’s evaluation and regulatory process for GE animals.  Pamela, currently a Visiting Assistant Professor with the University of Arkansas School of Law, addressed the development of in vitro meat and discussed whether it might solve any problems currently associated with industrialized livestock production.

The panel was staged in a large lecture hall at the law school and received an excellent turnout.  One audience member was Adam Soliman, who graduated from the LL.M. program with Pamela and has since started the Fisheries Law Centre, a non-profit focusing on fisheries law.  Adam presented at PIELC the day before on his work with community supported fisheries.  The conference was a wonderful opportunity for Adam and some of our current LL.M. students to meet.

The conference was an excellent networking opportunity for our students, as many attorneys from public interest groups that focus on food and agriculture issues, such as the Center for Food Safety and Food and Water Watch, were in attendance.  Additionally, the students took the panel as an opportunity to share information about the LL.M. program and our Food Recovery Project by making our new marketing materials available after the panel. 

We are very proud to support our students’ conference experiences, both financially and academically, as conferences are important networking opportunities and a great way to share ideas with and learn from other professionals.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Alumni News, Lauren Medoff

We continue to receive good news from our Alumni with new position announcements, this one from Lauren Medoff.

Congratulations to Lauren Medoff on her recent promotion to Senior Counsel with AdvoCare International, L.P. AdvoCare is a premier health and wellness direct-selling company that offers energy, weight-loss, nutrition, and sports performance products. Lauren reports that her work focuses on research and development to improve the AdvoCare product line, as well as lobbying for state and federal matters affecting both the direct-selling and supplement industry. In addition, Lauren trains distributors on policy and procedure, while also working on state and federal compliance issues.

Lauren was in the LL.M. class of 2011. She obtained her J.D. degree cum laude, from the University of Miami; her B.A. degree, cum laude from the University of Florida, with a major in Psychology; and her B.S. degree, University of Florida, cum laude with a degree in Criminology. Lauren served as a Federal Certified Legal Intern with the U.S. Attorney's office working on issues involving food safety and criminal liability.  She served as a Research Assistant to Professor Susan Schneider during her LL.M. studies.

Lauren's position with AdvoCare perfectly blends her interests in sports and nutrition, and as Lauren accurately states, this placement is "another win for the LL.M. family." Congratulations Lauren!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Why Study Agricultural & Food Law?

A new version of this slideshow, explaining why agricultural law and food law is a critical area of legal study -  and what a difference attorneys can make.  Visit our website for more information or to apply. A limited number of Graduate Assistantships will be available for our students in residence.  We anticipate final approval and a formal announcement regarding our distance program soon.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Harvard Food Safety Conference: LL.M. Connections

A timely conference on food safety was recently held at Harvard Law School.  New Directions for Food Safety: The Food Safety Modernization Act and Beyond was sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center, the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic (a division of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation), the new Harvard Food Law Lab, and the Harvard Food Law Society (with support from the Top University Strategic Alliance and the Dean's Office at Harvard Law School).

Peter Barton Hutt delivered the keynote address for the conference.  Professor Hutt is a senior counsel at the Washington, D.C. law firm Covington & Burling.  He has taught a food and drug law course at Harvard for over 20 years and has co-authored the Food and Drug Law casebook.  We were proud to have Professor Hutt teach a condensed courses in the LL.M. Program in 2012 and look forward to his return to Arkansas.

LL.M. Alumnus Michael Roberts was one of the presenters at the conference. Michael serves as the Director of the new Resnick Food Law and Policy Program at UCLA School of Law. His presentation topic was, The Regulation of Food Fraud Under FSMA: A Triggering of Obligations.  We are pleased to participate in a collaboration with The Resnick Center and the Drake University Agricultural Law Center on agricultural and food law issues.

Recent LL.M. Alumna Alli Condra (Class of 2012) also presented at the conference. Alli serves as a Clinical Fellow at the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic (a division of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation).  This year, much of her work focused on the proposed food safety rules applicable to to farms and drafting extensive comments to those rules.  She addressed those rules in her presentation at the conference, FSMA and Farm Consolidation.

Another of the excellent speakers presenting at the conference was Denis Stearns, Professor in Practice from Seattle University School of Law.  Professor Stearns is a founding partner of Marler Clark, the Seattle-based law firm that is nationally recognized for their representation of victims of food borne illness.  Marler Clark has a close relationship with the LL.M. Program, sponsoring the Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship, and Professor Stearns has co-taught a condensed course in the LL.M. Program with Bill Marler.  Professor Stearns presented on Turning a Black Swan White: Questioning the Need for Regulation of Non-Industrial Agriculture.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Wes Ward: LL.M. Candidate - County Judge Candidate

I am delighted to share the press release below. Wes is in this year's current LL.M. Class and has just announced his candidacy for Craighead County Judge. Supporters persuaded him to run, recognizing his leadership skills and his dedication to eastern Arkansas.  His years of service in the Marine Corps and his knowledge of agricultural law will be important assets to him. We wish him well.

Press Release - For Immediate Release
February 22, 2014

Wes Ward, (870) 897-0952

Wes Ward Announces Candidacy for 
Craighead County Judge

Wes Ward announced his candidacy today to run as a Republican for Craighead County Judge. Ward, a native of Lake City, is an attorney and a Captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserves.

Ward said, “I have been serving my country for nearly 14 years in the United States Marine Corps, including service overseas.  Now I want to utilize my education and leadership skills to serve my home county.” Ward continued, “Craighead County is in a position to experience incredible growth.  I believe the Chief Executive Officer of the County needs to be more involved and capitalize on this opportunity for growth and ensure our county is in a position to attract more economic development.  We need to provide more professional and transparent government services, safe and reliable infrastructure, an effective communication plan during emergencies, and a smarter and more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

“Further, I want to have an open door policy to consider every citizens ideas as well as concerns.   I will be a representative of the people and lead by example.”

Ward is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law and will also be receiving an LL.M degree in Agricultural Law this May.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from Arkansas State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.    

Ward joined the Marine Corps in 2000 and has deployed to both Afghanistan and Jordan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  His current reserve unit is the 3rd Civil Affairs Group (CAG) located in Great Lakes, Illinois.  He is a graduate of Riverside High School and a lifelong member of Refuge General Baptist Church in Lake City.

“It would be an honor to serve the residents of Craighead County, and I humbly ask for your vote.”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Foscolo & Handel PLLC, The Food Law Firm

It is with pride that I cross-post this announcement from LL.M. alumnus, Jason Foscolo, as posted on The Food Law Firm Blog, dated February 24, 2014 - 
It is with great pride that I publicly announce the launch of Foscolo & Handel PLLC, a new law practice dedicated to servicing the legal needs of farmers and food entrepreneurs. Earlier this year, Lauren Handel and I officially teamed up to combine our skills, experience, and resources for the benefit of our rapidly growing base of clients. Foscolo & Handel PLLC can now offer the community of food entrepreneurs more services, such as litigation, and with greater flexibility and availability than ever before.
I am particularly excited to be working alongside an attorney of Lauren’s caliber. Her incredible dedication to the burgeoning field of food law is truly inspirational. After 10 years at a prestigious “BigLaw” firm in New York and Washington, D.C., she chose to reorient her professional life to help support the kinds of clients that matter to her personally, those in the food industry. Her professionalism, commitment to her new clients, and her remarkable passion for food law inspire me to be a better attorney every day that we work together. The knowledge and experience she brings to this partnership will prove to be invaluable assets to our clients. 
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our clients and colleagues, whose support and trust in our unique legal expertise has sustained the rapid growth of this firm since its founding in 2011. Their continuing commitment to our firm is a testament to the usefulness of food law to their businesses.
Foscolo & Handel PLLC, the full service, general practice Food Law Firm, is now officially open for business.
Jason and Lauren are two sharp attorneys, connected-to and passionate-about food and agriculture. They are leading the way for the legal profession by finding better ways to serve clients -  by first really understanding their client's needs and believing in the work that they do.

As food law & policy grows as a legal discipline, as businesses realize that they need agricultural and food law attorneys on their side -  the demand for food law attorneys will rise.  I'd bet the store that this Food Law Firm is going to be very successful, particularly in the way that really matters -  in serving clients with the best representation available.  And, by doing so, our food system gets better, one business at a time.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Do Your Share!

Cross-posted from Agricultural Law:

I was simply delighted to find the National Agricultural Library (NAL) collection of War-era Food Posters available online. The physical collection was on display a couple years ago. Beans Were Bullets was an exhibit that "examined the evolution of poster styles, propaganda messages, and advertising history" from the World War I and II periods.

On the website, NAL has the posters divided chronologically and based on the theme of the period, with a helpful Introduction provided.
"Wartime posters in this collection conveyed messages about the vital need for food conservation, rationed goods, meatless and wheatless days, home gardening and canning. 
For farmers, who performed a distinct role on the homefront, posters called attention to the need for increased agricultural output and proper storage methods of surplus grain. Posters also instructed farmers to grow crops in their specific regions to best serve a nation at war.
In addition to these wartime subjects, many of the posters presage food-focused conversations taking place in our culture today. Posters created nearly a century ago suggested food's global significance, recommended eating locally and encouraged personally responsible consumption."
The sections, with direct links are as follows. Each section has a written analysis and a link to the posters.

Whether for historical purposes, for humor, or to further the call to revisit a more local food culture, I encourage all to visit this collection. NAL performs a great service in cataloguing, protecting, and preserving our food and agricultural heritage.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

For our Friends in Ukraine

The following video has been viewed over 4.5 million times. Our hearts go out to the good people of Ukraine and to the friends and family of all of those killed in the violence this week. At least 70 protestors were killed today and hundreds injured when security forces fired into the crowd.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Experiential Learning Pt. 2: Opportunities with Allen Olson

This is the second in a series of three posts about experiential learning opportunities for LL.M. students.

Last week, we posted about two of our current LL.M. students’ experiential learning opportunities with Walmart this semester.  This week, we are featuring opportunities that Kelly Damewood and Lauren Bernadett are completing with Allen Olson. 

Allen Olson
Allen Olson is a practitioner in the state of Georgia and long-time friend of the LL.M. Program.  After gaining many years of experience as a practicing attorney, Professor Olson received his LL.M. in agricultural law from our program in 1996.  After additional years of practice, he taught for the LL.M. Program before moving to Albany, Georgia in 2001 to begin his current practice.  He focuses primarily on agricultural law and has a national reputation for his work in federal farm programs, crop insurance, payment limitations, and other aspects of agricultural law.  Even though he is busy with his practice, Professor Olson graciously returned to the LL.M. Program to teach Federal Farm Programs last fall.  This was an ideal time for Professor Olson’s class, as many provisions of the farm bill that they discussed in class were being debated in Congress and the media.

Kelly Damewood
In addition to teaching Federal Farm Programs last semester, Professor Olson is currently working with two LL.M. students pursuing experiential opportunities.  Under Professor Olson’s supervision, Kelly Damewood is preparing a memorandum on the reach of IC-DISCs and Lauren Bernadett is preparing a memorandum on equitable apportionment and Florida’s current lawsuit against Georgia.

Kelly’s work for Professor Olson focuses on Interest Charge Domestic International Sales Corporations (IC-DISCs).  An IC-DISC is a type of business structure that carries federal tax benefits for farmers with an export crop business.  Kelly’s final memorandum will broaden the understanding of the full reach of IC-DISCs by analyzing who can benefit from IC-DISCs and under what circumstances.

Lauren Bernadett
Lauren’s work for Professor Olson focuses on the water rights doctrine of equitable apportionment, especially as it has been decided by the Supreme Court in original jurisdiction cases.  Many states have brought interstate water rights issues to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to decide how much water should be apportioned to each state.  Lauren’s research will tie in the current lawsuit that Florida filed against Georgia in October 2013 asking the Supreme Court for equitable apportionment of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin waters.  This research will help Professor Olson stay abreast of the lawsuit, which is important because his agricultural clients may be affected by how water rights in Georgia are managed.

These projects are great opportunities for Kelly and Lauren to learn more about specific areas of law and to get feedback on their research from a practicing attorney.  It is also a great opportunity for the LL.M. Program to maintain a close connection with Professor Olson, who has been such a great asset to the program for so many years.  Thank you, Professor Olson!

Monday, February 10, 2014

LL.M. Program Visiting Professor Neil Hamilton on the New Farm Bill

We are particularly proud of the Visiting Professors that teach our condensed courses and the leadership that they provide on agricultural and food law issues.

Just last week, the new Farm Bill was signed into law by President Obama.  Our friend and visiting Professor Neil Hamilton, Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center and the Dwight D. Opperman Distinguished Professor of Law was interviewed by Mid-Missouri Public Radio in a piece titled The Uneasy Marriage of Food Stamps and the Farm Bill.  Click on the link to read the article and listen to Professor Hamilton's interview.

Professor Hamilton is recognized as one of the nation's leading agricultural law scholars and has been a true visionary in his recognition of the connections between agriculture, food, and society.

We will be delighted to welcome Professor Hamilton back to Arkansas next month when he will be teaching a class on local food issues, including a look at what the Farm Bill offers to New Agriculture.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Leadership Summit for Native Youth in Agriculture

As an example of some of the exciting food and agricultural events going on a the University of Arkansas School of Law -   from today's Arkansas Newswire:

The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law will host a program for Native American youth in the summer of 2014. The Summer Leadership Summit: Native Youth in Agriculture will welcome at least 50 high school and college students to campus for a week of classes on risk management, finance and business, legal issues and marketing.

University of Arkansas professors, professionals in the food and agriculture sector and tribal leaders will teach the courses. Students from each of the Bureau of Indian Affairs regions will attend. Application materials and program descriptions will be available soon on the program’s website.

“This is an outstanding example of interdisciplinary work at the University of Arkansas,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our faculty will use their considerable expertise to help build a sustainable food and agriculture sector.”

The Intertribal Agriculture Council, FFA (formerly the Future Farmers of America), and the Farm Credit Council are partnering with the School of Law on the program, which is supported by a grant from the Risk Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The Leadership Institute Program will provide a pipeline of support for building the next generation of tribal food and agriculture leaders,” said Janie Hipp, director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative.

“This long-needed program will expose youth to the role governments play in American Indian agriculture,” said Ross Racine, executive director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council. “The program will provide a foundation from which each attendee can build an informed educational foundation and the program will provide a financial record-keeping foundation which will be beneficial for each attendee no matter what future career they choose to pursue.”

“Farm Credit is proud to be a partner in the development of leadership and financial skills among Native American young and beginning farmers,” said Gary Matteson, vice president of the Farm Credit Council’s Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach. “The future is bright for agriculture on tribal lands, and Farm Credit expects this program will be participants’ first step in achieving long-term farm business success.”

“We are committed to diversity as we continue to build today’s FFA into a more empowered and inclusive organization,” said Dwight Armstrong, chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization. “This grant will provide funding for Native American FFA members and others to participate in a risk management and leadership development conference next summer. We are grateful for this opportunity and pleased to be a part of this project.”

For more information, or to support the Leadership Program, please contact Janie Hipp at

NOTE:  Janie is a graduate of the LL.M. Program - and it's great to have her back with us, providing leadership on Native agricultural and food law issues.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Experiential Learning: Externships with Walmart's Legal Division

The LL.M. Program provides experiential opportunities for students to work with professionals in the agricultural or food law sector.  Experiential opportunities usually take place in the spring semester so that students can assess their interests in the field and focus on developing relevant legal background during the fall semester. 

This spring, we have five LL.M. students participating in experiential opportunities: Erin Shirl and Kathryn Smith are externing with Walmart, a recurring extern host with the LL.M. Program; Sonia Sylls is working with the Sustainability Consortium, a first-time partner with the LL.M. Program; and Kelly Damewood and Lauren Bernadett are doing projects with AllenOlson, who taught Federal Farm Programs last semester.

We are running a series of blog posts featuring our students’ work with each of the externship hosts.  This first post features Kathryn and Erin’s work with Walmart.

Kathryn Smith
Kathryn and Erin and both externing in Walmart’s Legal Division.  They are working with Don Wiseman, a long-time friend of the LL.M. Program and an experienced attorney assigned to Food Compliance and Product Safety Compliance, and Amy White, an alumna of the LL.M. Program with Walmart’s Food Compliance Division.  

Kathryn is primarily working with Don in the Food Compliance department, which oversees food safety and food labeling issues.  She anticipates that her work might include the newest Farm Bill and the Food Safety Modernization Act.  Her other work will depend on issues that arise during her time there.

Kathryn has been pleased to find that the people with whom she works at Walmart are taking her interests into consideration to guide her assignments.  Additionally, they are taking the time to connect her with others in the Walmart family with whom her interests align.

Erin Shirl
Erin accepted an extern position with the Food Safety and Health division, and primarily works with Amy on food labeling issues. 

Erin says that working on compliance and labeling issues is as fast-paced as you might expect with a company as large as Walmart.  She is impressed by her division’s ability to streamline its work, made possible by the Food Safety team’s incredible dedication.  Erin reports that she is enjoying her work with Walmart and is currently working on some very interesting research projects.

Erin and Kathryn have already had the opportunity to be involved in corporate meetings at Walmart and they agree that their supervisors are great about showing them the behind-the-scenes work at the world’s largest retailer.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Office of Sustainability Graduate Assistant: Jeremy Baker

It is my pleasure to report on the ongoing collaboration between the University of Arkansas Office of Sustainability and the LL.M. Program.

Enhancing and building upon existing strengths in sustainability is a priority at the University of Arkansas. This commitment was reflected last year in the appointment of nationally recognized agricultural sustainability expert, Marty Matlock, professor of biological and agricultural engineering, to serve full time as Executive Director for the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability.  Carlos Ochoa serves as Director of the Office of Sustainability.

The LL.M. Program's Food Recovery Project brought us squarely in line with the many sustainability initiatives advanced by the Office of Sustainability on campus.  As a show of support to our project and an effective way to bridge the work of our Program and the work of the Office of Sustainability, Professor Matlock proposed sponsoring a graduate assistantship in the LL.M. Program.  This provides an opportunity to an LL.M. candidate and offers the Office of Sustainability access to the talent and expertise of the attorneys enrolled in the LL.M. Program. It also serves to help us to coordinate our related projects.

Jeremy Baker was selected for this exciting new opportunity.  Jeremy served as the Research Assistant to Professor Lakshman Guruswamy on his manuscript, GLOBAL ENERGY JUSTICE to be published by Foundation Press.

Jeremy received his J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School where he served as the Associate Editor for the Colorado Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Review. He was awarded the Sandgrund Environmental Law Fellowship during the Summer of 2012 and was a Dean's Scholar.  His other legal work while in law school includes clerking, internships and research assistantships with the USDA office in Golden, Colorado; WildEarth Guardians; and, the Natural Resources Law Center.  His note, The Waikato-Tainui Settlement Act: A new High-Water Mark for Natural Resources Co-management, was published in the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law & Policy, 24 COLO. J. INT'L ENVTL. L. & POL'Y 163 (2013).

Jeremy received his B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University.  His additional work experience includes serving as Produce Manager of the Mediterranean Market in Queenstown, New Zealand; as General Manager of Trimet Associates;  as an ESL Instructor in Hiosaki, Japan;  as Lead Underwriter for Jones Lang LaSalle; and as a Financial Analyist for Jones Lang LaSalle.

Jeremy will be working directing with the Office of Sustainability and coordinating work between that Office and our Program, in particular, through the Food Recovery Project.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

USDA Associate General Counsel Teaches Course on Farm Policy

Last week, we were proud to welcome our good friend David Grahn who flew in from Washington, D.C. to teach a condensed course for us, Farm Policy and the Federal Budget.

David serves in the USDA Office of General Counsel as Associate General Counsel for International Affairs, Food Assistance, Farm and Rural Programs.  He represents the interests of a wide range of USDA entities: Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency / Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, Rural Development Agency, Rural Business Service, Rural Utilities Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, the Food and Nutrition Service, and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

David spent Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday in concentrated sessions with our LL.M. students, explaining complex aspects of agricultural policy development.  Much of the class was devoted to understanding how the federal budget drives policy development and how administrative law can be used strategically to affect policy outcomes.  It was a practical, real-world look at how agencies work, how political goals can best be met, and how money works in Washington.

David's time with us this year was interspersed with phone calls and emails from D.C. David is often asked by those working with the House and Senate Agriculture committees to comment on the technical language used in the farm legislation that is being drafted, including the farm bill, and he provides wise counsel.

The LL.M. students were delighted with the class.  Comments included "eye-opening look at federal policy,"  "great teacher - explains complicated information so clearly,"  "best class in my 20 years of education" and, "amazing opportunity."  Student evaluations that most professors only dream of . . .

A special note that is a testimony to David's professionalism -  in order to avoid any possible conflict of interest, David volunteers his time to the LL.M. Program.  He takes vacation days, pays his own travel and stays with Christopher and me in our rustic home in the Ozarks where our menagerie of dogs and cats also think he is just the greatest.  Thanks, David.

Support for our Friends and Alumni in Ukraine

The University of Arkansas, the Law School, and the LL.M. Program all have strong connections to Ukraine through the excellent students who have come to Fayetteville to study with us, the distinguished visitors we have hosted, the law colleagues we have met through the digital video conference exchanges, and all of the friendships formed.  Our ties at the Law School originated with the work of Professor Kelley in Ukraine as a Fulbright Scholar in 2005, and over the years, our connections have expanded from that base.  We are proud to have an LL.M. alumna who is from Ukraine and who was one of our best international students in the Program.

So, it is with great concern that we watch the events unfolding in Ukraine and worry for the safety of the courageous protestors who seek a more democratic government and closer ties to the European Union.  For those who wish to follow the events in Kyiv, we suggest the following resources.

Live-streaming from Kyiv can be viewed on at

The Kyiv post has a website with continual updates, EuroMaidan.

Recent photos can be found on many websites, including on the Business Insider, with the ominous headline, Kyiv Has Become a War Zone.

We all hope for a peaceful resolution for the people of Ukraine.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Californian's Perspective on Fayetteville, Arkansas

Each year in the LL.M. Program, we attract a geographically diverse group of attorneys to study with us in Fayetteville.  While there are always a few Arkansans in the class, the majority come from out of state.  For example, this year's class includes Lauren Bernadett, a recent graduate of UCLA Law School.  Lauren moved to Fayetteville from Los Angeles, California. I asked her to write a post about moving to Fayetteville and what she found here -  

Here's Lauren's post: 

In-person attendance will continue to be an important and invaluable component of the Agriculture and Food Law LL.M. Program, even as we develop a distance learning program for those who cannot relocate to Fayetteville.  Even once future students have the choice between in-person attendance and distance learning, students should still strongly consider in-person attendance even if that means relocating.

The thought of relocating (even if just temporarily) to Fayetteville can be intimidating for many reasons. One reason may be that Fayetteville is a new town, or Arkansas is a new state for you.  For some previous students, moving to Fayetteville for the LL.M. Program was their first time living outside of their home state.  We hope that fear of a new town would not dissuade any future students from attending the LL.M. Program in person.  In fact, many students find Fayetteville to be one of the best places they have ever lived.  We would like to share with future students some aspects of living in Fayetteville that make it a great place to live, even if  just for one academic year.


Especially if you are moving from a bigger city, you will be pleasantly surprised by the housing and rental prices in Fayetteville.  Many students find that they pay much less here than in their previous city.  And the accommodations will be appropriate for people of all tastes and lifestyles – you will be able to find housing as luxurious or as cheap as you like.  Fortunately, there seems to be plenty of housing available in Fayetteville so the housing search can be less of a rat race than you may have experienced in bigger cities.

Many students chose to live close to campus for ease of access.  Students have lived in apartments rented out by property management companies including Pierce Properties, Sweetzer Properties, and Lindsey Management, to name a few of the bigger companies with reasonably priced rentals close to campus.  Previous students have also found apartments on Craigslist and through private renters.  Other students live further away from campus, especially those looking to live in a house or away from the campus scene.


Naturally, many people interested in the LL.M. Program will also be interested in the local food scene in Fayetteville.  In addition to grocery chains such as Harp’s and Walmart, the Ozark Natural Foods Co-op is less than two miles from campus and is a favorite of many LL.M. students.

Fayetteville also boasts one of the best farmers’ markets in the country.  It has been in operation since 1973 and was voted American Farmland Trust’s Favorite Large Farmers’ Market in 2012. Located less than a mile and a half from campus in the Historic Fayetteville Square, shoppers can find fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, honey, jams,
baked goods, crafts, art, and adoptable dogs at the farmers’ market on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.  The farmers’ market currently runs April through November, but they are hoping to start a winter market soon!  Other farmers’ markets, as well as local fruit and vegetable stands, also operate in Fayetteville and other nearby towns.

Fayetteville restaurants offer common Southern fare such as barbecue, catfish, and deep fried everything, so if that’s an incentive to move to the South, you won’t find it lacking in Fayetteville!

But our vegetarian and health-conscience students are usually pleasantly surprised by the amount of restaurants offering alternative food choices.  Fayetteville also has its share of crave-worthy Thai, Japanese, and Korean restaurants.  If you’re looking for Indian food, nearby Bentonville has a large selection of Indian restaurants.

The grassroots food movement is also flourishing in Fayetteville, giving LL.M. students the opportunity to participate in this new culture.  Tri-Cycle Farms, a local sustainable farm, is just down the street from campus, hosts various community events, and has an ongoing relationship with the LL.M. Program.

Feed Fayetteville is alleviating hunger by promoting a local and sustainable food system. Edible Ozarkansas is a magazine dedicated to the local food culture in the Ozarks.

All these groups and more add to the food culture and community of Fayetteville, making this city so much deeper than just the food companies for which it is famous.

Fortunately for LL.M. students, being in Arkansas allows us to take advantage of the diverse offerings and perspectives of both large, international food companies and small, grassroots food groups.


Fayetteville is not lacking in activities to keep LL.M. students busy, ranging from the outdoors to the arts.  There are a few nearby favorites:

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – Crystal Bridges Museum is home to pieces of American art from throughout the ages, as well as temporary exhibits and community events.  It is located on 120 acres of beautiful forest in Bentonville.  Visitors can explore the museum’s acreage via the multiple walking trails throughout the premises.  The architecture of the museum alone is a thing to behold.  Designed by world-famous Moshe Safdie, the museum forms a bridge over two lakes made from a natural stream.  Best of all, general admission is free!

Devil’s Den State Park – located just south of Fayetteville along highway 540, Devil’s Den is a beautiful place to spend a day hiking and enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Northwest Arkansas.  Plenty of beginner-level trails make this a fun place to take family and friends.

Bike Paths – the many bike paths that span throughout Fayetteville and nearby-Springdale provide an excellent place to bike or run.  One of the trails runs along the east side of campus.  The various paths meet up with each other so you won’t get bored from having to ride along the same trail.  Most of the paths are off the street so bikers and runners don’t have to battle with cars.  The paths are well-maintained and some parts are even lit at night.

Prairie Grove Civil War Battlefield – this is one for the history buffs.  Prairie Grove is one of the most intact civil war battlefields.  There is a walking trail, a driving tour, and guided tours.  On even numbered years in December, the battlefield hosts the largest battle reenactment in Arkansas.

Dickson Street – this is the street near the campus that makes Fayetteville a college town.  The many restaurants and bars along this street are great places to grab a bite or a drink, especially because of its close proximity to campus.  This year’s LL.M. class joined each other for many dinners and happy hours on and near Dickson Street.

Dickson Street Bookshop – anyone interested in historic or out-of-print books will be able to spend hours in this fascinating bookstore.  The walls are lined with unique books of all themes and ages.

Bikers, Blues, and BBQ – if you love motorcycles, stick around for this annual festival.  It is the third biggest biker rally in the nation.

Arkansas Music Pavilion – the “AMP” attracts many well-known bands and musicians, including Alabama Shakes and Lynyrd Skynyrd, just to name a couple 2013 appearances.  It is set to expand into a bigger location in Rogers (just north of Fayetteville) to attract even more big-name groups starting in summer 2014.

Of course, there are many other things to do in and around Fayetteville.  Many online resources have plenty of other suggestions for activities in the area.  Professors and recent LL.M. grads can also be good sources for the must-see attractions of the area.

Getting In and Out

The closest airport to campus is the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) in Bentonville, thirty minutes north of campus.  XNA has direct flights to cities such as Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.

Students sometimes find that it is cheaper to fly out of the Tulsa International Airport, which is less than a two hour drive from Fayetteville and has a wider selection of airlines.

The ease of access to these airports makes life easier for students who undertake regular personal travel throughout the academic year.  Both airports have reasonable economy parking rates, currently at $5 or $6 per day.


Fayetteville has a noticeably slower pace of life than big cities on the coasts.  This is a welcome relief for many.  However, there is enough happening in the city and area and enough professionals and big companies that it does not feel too slow.  Instead, Fayetteville hits a very nice, livable medium.

Students from out of town will notice the southern hospitality in Fayetteville.  Especially coming from a big city, the people of Fayetteville seem relaxed and genuinely kind.  People have time to answer your questions and chat, and they wave or say “Hi” when you run by each other on the bike path.

As a pleasant relief for students moving from big cities, there is comparatively little to no traffic here (locals will call it traffic, but it doesn’t compare to traffic in a big city) and parking around town is usually abundant, free, and unrestricted.  Some students who live further away from campus avoid the cost of a campus parking permit by parking in nearby neighborhoods and walking a short distance to campus.  There are usually no parking restrictions and you’ll never have to move your car for street sweeping.


Northwest Arkansas has four seasons.  Not surprisingly, your perception of Fayetteville weather will depend on where you have lived before.  The summers and winters in Northwest Arkansas are milder than some places in the country and harsher than other places in the country, but it is bearable even for those of us who moved from southern California.  If you’re concerned about the weather, get a better apartment with newer windows, well-insulated walls, and central air/heat.  Fall in Fayetteville is beautiful, and there is no shortage of trees in the area to show off the beautiful colors of the season.

Fayetteville and the Northwest Arkansas area are growing, and it is easy to see why – it has the amenities of a big town, but has a small town feel.  The surroundings are beautiful, and there is plenty to do.  Our students, even the ones who were hesitant about moving to Arkansas, are usually very happy to have had the chance to experience Northwest Arkansas, even if just for one year.  As we modernize our program to add the distance learning component, we hope that many future students will still opt for the in-person program so that they have the chance to experience the charm of Fayetteville!

(Author’s Note: I moved to Fayetteville from Los Angeles for the 2013-14 school year.  I am happy to answer any questions about my moving and/or Fayetteville experience from a Californian/big city perspective.  I can be reached at